Customers are prone to snap judgments.
They make decisions very quickly when it comes to how they perceive your business and the service you provide. With that in mind, it is critical that each and every part of the customer experience is managed and tweaked to show you in the very best light. Because when things aren’t right it can cast a shadow on the mission and product you work so hard to provide.
Cleanliness is a vital part of the overall experience. If you are telling yourself that it doesn’t matter in your line of work, then you are fooling yourself. It is most important in restaurants, healthcare, and edcuation, but don’t think that folks aren’t watching your sanitation basics when they visit.
It could be as simple as your washrooms or the parking lot your guests walk through on the way into your business. If you have dirty bathrooms, cigarette butts on the ground, or dead leaves in your entry way, folks are going to assume that you may not be someone with whom they want to do business. They may not know why right away…it could be something that just pulls at their gut. Something that sends out a warning. On a conscious level they may just be thinking that it doesn’t feel right doing business in someplace that isn’t clean.
But there is much more.
Some folks recognize this on on a more unconscious level, but in a nutshell they are asking themselves what is going on that they can’t see. When a business disregards the things that are right out in the customer’s face, they risk the question of what shenanigans are going on behind closed doors.
Think about it from the point of view of a restaurant visit. If you walk into your neighborhood eatery and the glass in the front doors are in need of a good cleaning you may walk in without much thought. Does the dust on the window ledges in the waiting area give you pause or is it the dirty bathrooms? My guess is that by the time you get the menu that is more scratch and sniff than anything you are pretty sure you’re not eating anything out of that kitchen. If they are so cavalier with all the items they know you can see what do their coolers, stoves, and work tables in the closed kitchen look like?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not wasting a weekend with food poisoning to find out.
So think about it carefully and be sure that you are walking your spaces to validate your cleanliness. Utilize cleaning schedules and opening checklists to be sure that there is accountably and process. These can’t become “check the box” exercises or there is no point to them. Discuss the expectations in your staff meeting and make sure that you emphasize how personally important this is to you and your guests.
Finally, involve your entire staff in the best way to tackle this challenge and keep the importance top of mind. There is no substitute for an eyes-wide-open approach that sets high expectations for achievement. Make it a contest, give out tons of recognition and praise, and coach through the change with positivity and enthusiasm.
Keep an eye on your cleanliness and it will allow your product and service to shine!
Talk to you soon, Tony Johnson